Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 30, 2022

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by thousands of subscribers. You, too, can join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 7:20 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Administrative

For the first time in a while, I am able to catch up to and focus more on active trading, hence the earlier letter, today. What a crazy past few months. Almost back to normal!

We will issue a content calendar, soon, revealing the dates letters are likely to be published and the content that may be covered.

That said, due to the writer’s travel commitments, from 12/6 to 12/9 and 12/12 to 12/16 there will be no commentaries. If any queries, or if you are local to New York City or Paris, ping renato@physikinvest.com or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.

Fundamental

In many ways, the opposite of what happened to bolster a rally across risk assets like equities and crypto is happening, now. As unpacked in detail across letters including our Daily Brief for October 5, 2022, liquidity measures are in a near-lockstep fall with the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX).

The correlation between so-called net liquidity described further below, and the S&P 500, over the past ten years is about 0.70 and explains more than half of the movement in price-earings multiples over the past decade.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Detailed in previous letters was how processes like quantitative tightening manifest themselves as less demand for assets; per Fabian Wintersberger, central bankers must “recycle bonds into the markets on an unprecedented scale, which could easily lead to lower bond prices/higher yields” causing a “reflux of capital to safe-haven assets, like treasuries.”

Alfonso Peccatiello of The Macro Compass details more on the impact of more or less financial sector money in a post titled “All They Told You About Money Printing Is Really, Really Wrong.”

Adding, “the Fed has [only] reduced its holdings by 1.5% by letting bonds mature on its balance sheet. If they want to reduce the balance sheet back to the level of 2020, it needs to reduce it by 41%; … [therefore], [i]f history is any guide, the stock market has yet to face its most significant problems in such a scenario.”

Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE: MS) trading team agrees, per a recent Bloomberg article on a looming bear case for the S&P 500.

Though “rate increases get all the blame for this year’s bear market” and a projected “slowdown in the pace of rate hikes” helping “equities emerge from the yearlong bear, … the S&P 500 will drop as much as 15% by March, based on historic patterns and projected money flows,” which major inputs include “changes in the Fed’s balance sheet (BS); the Treasury General Account (TGA), or Treasury cash held at the central bank; and Reverse Repo Facilities (RRP), or cash parked at the Fed by money market funds and others.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Inflation increases are easing.

In other words, net liquidity is the Fed’s BS less TGA and RRP. See the below graphic.

Accordingly, “a rise in Fed’s balance sheet means an expansion in liquidity that bodes well for stocks, while an increase in TGA or RRP suggests a contraction in liquidity.” 

Based on the QT pace ($95 billion per month) and forecasts the Treasury cash balance will “rise by $200 billion into yearend, … [amounting] to a squeezing of liquidity that alone implies an 8% drop for the S&P 500 by the end of December.”

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

In summary, “there’s no longer enough money to finance [the] production of those goods and to support a stock market that’s still far from cheap.”

Graphic: Retrieved from VettaFi. “If the supply of money (in aggregate, M2) is higher than the demand for money (represented by nominal GDP), then there is “excess” liquidity that can and will find its way into asset prices.  Furthermore, if the growth of money supply exceeds the growth of GDP, that excess liquidity builds, and there is more of it to find its way into more asset prices.  In theory, the inverse would also hold true.  If the growth of GDP exceeds the growth of money supply, then excess liquidity is being consumed by the demand for money.  In this scenario, the real economy is feeding on liquidity that was once flowing into asset prices.”

Positioning

As we said earlier this week (November 29, 2022, and November 28, 2022), it’s not a terrible time to hedge, and selling volatility, blindly, on either side of the market, is not a great trade.

As SpotGamma put well, yesterday, implied volatility (IVOL) is at a low meaning “it makes sense to buy volatility and put on trades that make money if the market moves” but leverage the skew to sell “options to cut down the cost of waiting for that movement to happen.”

In our letter, yesterday, we highlighted Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) volatility skew and showed it was smile-shaped, rather than the typical smirk-shaped reverse pattern, making for some great trades to the upside. Through steeper call volatility skew – a result of traders positioning for an upside move – we can use the richness of further away calls to reduce the cost of our bets on the market upside.

Graphic: Updated 11/28/2022. Retrieved from Interactive Brokers (NASDAQ: IBKR). Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) volatility skew resembles the so-called smile.

For instance, low-cost 500-1000 points wide call ratio spreads (buy the closer leg, sell two of the farther legs) expiring in fifteen days may work well (e.g., SELL -1 1/2 BACKRATIO NDX 100 16 DEC 22 [AM] 13425/13925 CALL @.20 CR LMT). The immediate concern with these strategies is your exposure to Delta (i.e., direction) and Gamma (i.e., does movement make you money).

The required reading is Dynamic Hedging: Managing Vanilla and Exotic Options!

Graphic: Retrieved from the Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) thinkorswim platform. Nasdaq 100 options prices.

If you are exposed to +Delta and +Gamma, your trade makes money in an increasing way as the market rises, barring any other changes (e.g., passage of time, increases in volatility, etc).

If you are exposed to -Delta and -Gamma, your trade loses money in an increasing way as the market rises, barring any other changes. Should the movement happen quickly, and volatility rise, which is not likely, then that worsens the situation. 

The required reading is Dynamic Hedging: Managing Vanilla and Exotic Options!

This is not advice but a framework for how to act on the theory we talk about on a daily basis. In short, don’t sell calls and puts blindly. Adding, the above trade may not provide safe exposure to the market upside or downside. Given the sideways trade and contraction in ranges, we aim to be well-positioned for a move from low to high volatility. Stay safe and watch your risk.

Noting, should you sell IVOL, the market trade lower, and the demand for IVOL rises, you may be left in an awkward position; big market drops statistically add to the likelihood of more drops.

Read The Second Leg Down: Strategies for Profiting after a Market Sell-Off!

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Technical

As of 7:15 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Our S&P 500 pivot for today is $3,965.25. 

Key levels to the upside include $3,997.00, $4,024.00, and $4,051.00. 

Key levels to the downside include $3,923.00, $3,909.25, and $3,871.25.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView platform. All levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will be identified by low-volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

Gamma: The sensitivity of an option’s Delta to changes in the underlying asset’s price.

Volga: The sensitivity of an option’s Vega to changes in the underlying’s implied volatility.

POCs: Denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

MCPOCs: Denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous sessions. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

Volume-Weighted Average Prices (VWAPs): A metric highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.


About

In short, an economics graduate working in finance and journalism.

Capelj spends most of his time as the founder of Physik Invest through which he invests and publishes daily analyses to subscribers, some of whom represent well-known institutions.

Separately, Capelj is an equity options analyst at SpotGamma and an accredited journalist interviewing global leaders in business, government, and finance.

Past works include conversations with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Contact

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 22, 2022

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by over 1,200 people. To join this community and learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets, subscribe below.

Graphic updated 9:30 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Administrative:

Crazy morning! Coming in really late, today. Not the best letter. I know.

Positioning

To preface, trading is a lonely game and having people to speak with means a lot. So, I call up my trading partner, yesterday, and we chat markets and some other unrelated stuff. During the call, he said something I couldn’t shake. It was along the lines of the following: “Active traders (e.g., directional stock and futures bettors) are getting killed right now, and we are sitting on our hands not getting killed.”

This is a nod to context. We mustn’t look at the market from a single angle, in short.

Starting on the fundamental side of things, the 2022 market de-rate had much to do with participants’ repricing of assets in the context of monetary tightening (to stem structural inflation). As Joseph Wang wrote in one post, the “Fed’s rapid tightening markedly reduced the level of household wealth and thus potential demand.”

It’s “[o]ne of the Fed’s tools to impact aggregate demand [] by adjusting household wealth,” he adds. This “in turn impacts household spending power.” 

Adding: “The wealth effect was an explicit rationale for [quantitative easing or QE], where higher asset prices were thought to boost consumer spending. By the same logic, lowering household wealth can potentially lower consumer spending and dampen inflation.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Joseph Wang’s “Stock and Flow” post. “Public data suggests [the] top 20% of earners hold 70% of household wealth.”

With “the bulk of asset repricing … behind us,” markets have turned; support is fundamental, for one, and positioning, as we discuss in this letter, has added to market support.

A similar setup occurred late this summer; investors’ supply of protection added to the macro-type flows after elections and CPI. Following the last weeks, the pulling forward of the supportive hedging (linked to the decay of options with respect to the passing of time), in light of the holidays, would keep markets intact.

As some evidence, see the below graphic. Yesterday, the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) auctioned sideways (the bottom right) while breadth (the top left) was weak.

Graphic: Market Internals (Advance/Decline, Up-Volume/Down-Volume, Tick) as Peter Reznicek at ShadowTrader teaches. Though positive, readings were weak and supportive of responsive trade, similar to what market liquidity (via Bookmap) was showing.

As SpotGamma put forward yesterday, in addition to the “support coming from the time decay that’s likely being pulled forward due to the holidays, implied volatility compressed and provided the market with that Vanna boost we talk much about.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Accordingly, “[w]hen investors supply protection,” hence lower IVOL, counterparties “hedge in a manner that reduces market swings,” SpotGamma explained.

How do we capitalize on this information? A few ways stick out.

First, interesting are trades that bet on less whipsaw over the short term (e.g., sell a short-dated option and buy a far-dated option).

You are betting against movement (-Gamma) over a span of time you don’t think the market will move. And, you are betting on movement (+Gamma) over a larger span of time. In theory, using a calendar spread strategy as just described would position you for market movement when the context develops to “catalyze increased whipsaw.”

Second, if you own the S&P 500, sell call skew to fund put skew. By doing so, you will put yourself into a protective collar. For reasons we won’t go into today, according to a recent posting by IPS Strategic Capital’s Pat Hennessy, collars are an “attractive trade for those who are worried about the performance of stocks over the next year but do not want to sell or try timing the market.”

Lastly, if guaranteed returns are desired, box spreads enable you to create “a loan structure similar to a Treasury bill.” Upon maturity, the box spread earns a competitive interest rate. Price some trades at boxtrades.com.

Technical

As of 9:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a balanced skewed overnight inventory, just outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Our S&P 500 pivot for today is $3,965.25. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,000.25, $4,027.00, and $4,069.25. 

Key levels to the downside include $3,923.00, $3,871.25, and $3,838.25.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView platform. All levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Considerations: Bigger participants, some of whom move by a committee and seldom respond to technical nuances, are likely waiting for more information before entering and initiating an expansion of the range. For that reason, our key levels have held to the tick, per the below.

Our Daily Brief for November 18, 2022, went into why this type of push-and-pull occurs in detail.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions:

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on areas of high volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure, identified as low volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume (LVNodes), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

MCPOCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous day sessions. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets. 

Capelj also writes options market analyses at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga journalist. 

His past works include private discussions with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, the infamous Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, former Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, the Lithuanian Delegation’s Aušrinė Armonaitė, among many others.

Contact

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For October 4, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 990+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 9:20 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

Fresh and top of mind, still, is the Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE: CS) debacle. However, despite the bank’s “critical moment,” as discussed in yesterday’s letter, credit default swap (CDS) levels, though still rising, are “far from distressed.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Reuters.

Adding, not reflected by the stock is a “strong capital base and liquidity position,” per CS.

Graphic: Retrieved from Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE: CS).

A big topic speculated on was CS’ probability of default. At its core, CDS spreads relate to the probability of default in the following way, per Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) research

(CDS Spread) / (1 – Recovery Rate) = Implied Probability Of Default.

The recovery rate is basically the (estimated) amount of a loan that will be repaid in the case of a bankruptcy or default. Per European Central Bank research, “the standard recovery rate used by the industry in price calculations is 40%.”

Roughly speaking, below is a quick calculation:

250 basis points / (1 – 0.40) = 416.67 basis points = 4.17% Implied Probability Of Default

In CS’ case, if the spread is 250 basis points, assuming a 40% recovery, that’s a 4.17% default probability implied. If the spread was at 150 basis points, then, assuming a 40% recovery, that’s a 2.5% chance of default.

Graphic: Taken from @EffMktHype who retrieved from Bloomberg. “So many [Bloomberg] screenshots of CS CDS levels and talking about massive default prob numbers. Zero people actually using [the] same terminal to look at default risk screen.”

Taken together, in short, similar to as we put forth, yesterday, “[t]his is not 2008,” per Citigroup Inc’s (NYSE: C) Andrew Coombs. Bloomberg adds that Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) faced its own credit spread debacle during 2011 European debt exposure rumors; “it took months for the price of the default swaps to fall as the feared losses never materialized.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Reuters.

Ahead of an October 27 CS review covering topics including “a large-scale investment banking retreat, … [i]nvestors are worried about how much the bank will [have to] cover” a restructuring.

Bloomberg adds: “A sale of Credit Suisse’s structured-products group, which trades securitized debt, has attracted interest from potential buyers, … [amid] rising interest rates.”

Per UBS Group AG (NYSE: UBS) research, a sale of such businesses, which may be worth more than the market is currently implying, “could help to avoid a dilutive capital increase.”

Positioning

“Month-end portfolio rebalances and [the] expiration of quarterly option strategies [acted] in support of the market,” JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic stated in a September 30, 2022 commentary titled “Throwing rocks in glass houses.”

In that same commentary, Kolanovic eased support for his 2022 price targets on economic volatility led by central banks, the war in Europe, and beyond.

As stated last week, per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, it’s the case that the removal of options strategies and potential supply of protection (as investors further come to the realization that options protection has done little to protect against downside) may provide markets a boost.

Graphic: Taken from @Alpha_Ex_LLC who retrieved from Bloomberg. S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) October put option lower in price and volatility.

Ultimately, though, a final resolution would be “tied to the incremental effects on liquidity,” (e.g., QT manifesting itself as “$4.5 billion less in demand for assets per day,” and buyback blackout) while options repositioning may make the case for increased fragility, as traders’ falling demand for put protection opens the door to less supportive hedging flows with respect to time (Charm) and volatility (Vanna) changes.

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Therefore, trades such as the Short Ratio Put Spread, particularly if narrower, may be far riskier to employ into the end of this year and the middle half of next year. For context, this was a trade to have on this year.

As participants continue to make the aforementioned realizations and supply to the market put (downside protection), tails may “continue to be cheap,” and discount “crash risk,” according to The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial.

A lot more to resolve this jumbled mess of a newsletter in the coming days.

Technical

As of 9:10 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher.

Any activity above the $3,771.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,826.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the last-mentioned could reach as high as the $3,862.25 HVNode and $3,893.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower.

Any activity below the $3,771.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,722.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,671.00 VPOC and $3,610.75 HVNode, or lower.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on areas of high volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure, identified as low volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume (LVNodes), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

Vanna: The rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to volatility.

Charm: The rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to time.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 28, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 970+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 8:20 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Administrative

Apologies, team, if the quality was lacking these past few days. Extremely busy on my end and I look forward to some detailed letters in the near future! – Renato

Fundamental

“Great powers are waging hot wars involving the flow of technologies, goods, and commodities.”

That’s according to Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar who believes that the pillars forming the context for a low-inflation world are changing, and this is setting the stage for longer-lasting structural inflation.

In short, inflationary impulses are incoming from non-linear geopolitical and economic conflicts. 

Just yesterday, Europe was investigating attacks on pipelines from Russia; there were “major leaks into the Baltic Sea from two Russian gas pipelines at the cent[er] of an energy standoff.”

“The word sabotage springs to mind,” Javier Blas of Bloomberg, said. “In a single day, the conduits, which link Russia with Germany under the Baltic Sea, have suffered not one, not two, but three separate major leaks.”

Per reports by Refinitiv, seismologists nearby registered “powerful blasts” that “do not resemble signals from earthquakes.” Instead, the explosions likely correspond with hundreds of “kilos (kg) of dynamite.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. 

Given that Nordstream 1 and 2 are not operational, now, the “leaks are more likely a message: [if truly the culprit], Russia is opening a new front on its energy war against Europe.” 

Accordingly, gas prices were higher but “below this year’s peaks,” Refinitiv reported. Generally, across some benchmarks, prices read “more than 200%, higher than in early September 2021.”

Separately, the Bank of England (BoE) is delaying quantitative-tightening (QT) bond sales and opting to purchase longer-dated government bonds in an attempt to restore stability, which we discussed was at risk on Monday and Tuesday.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Credit Default Swaps (CDSs) are a tool for investors to offload credit risk to other market participants.

As a result, after a near-vertical drop (visible below) in Gilts and British corporate bonds (which impacted mortgage lending, for one), UK yields saw some of their biggest drops on record.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Updated September 26, 2022.

The actions over the past few days complicate the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) objective to reach a return to 2% inflation in the medium term.

Graphic: Retrieved, initially, from Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC). Via The Transcript. Interest rates “may be higher for longer” than expected.

At home, here, in the US, yields on the 10-year topped 4.00%. There is a heightened chance of a Federal Reserve (Fed) bump in rates that brings the target rate to 375-400 basis points, while the UK, in stemming its inflationary pressures, is expected to bump by double that amount.

The action to stem inflation is feeding through to demand. Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) said it would ease plans to boost iPhone production “after an anticipated surge in demand failed to materialize,” a Bloomberg report said

“The supply constraints pulling down on the market since last year have eased and the industry has shifted to a demand-constrained market,” said Nabila Popal, research director at IDC. 

“High inventory in channels and low demand with no signs of immediate recovery has OEMs panicking and cutting their orders drastically for 2022,” a fear we said ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood shared, not too long ago.

Positioning

The beginning of the week was characterized by a sideways-to-lower S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and implied volatility (IVOL) metrics, such as the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), rising.

Per IVOL the term structure, demand for options protections seems to be concentrated in options that are shorter-dated and far more sensitive to changes in direction and volatility.

That means for large shifts in price and/or volatility, hedging ratios (e.g., Delta) shift markedly, too. This prompts “hedging feedback mechanisms in both market directions,” per SpotGamma.

Graphic: Retrieved from VIX Central. Taken from The Market Ear. Updated 9/27/2022.

Moreover, the risks are skewed to the upside, SpotGamma added. 

“For pumped-up options far from the money to retain their value, there essentially needs to be an adverse move (in price and volatility). Should nothing bad happen, the probability of these options paying out will fade, as will their exposure to direction (or Delta). [In] re-hedg[ing] decreased exposure to Delta, liquidity providers [] may provide the market with a boost.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility (Vanna) and time change (Charm), hedging ratios change. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.

At the same time, there appears to be some “dealer disintermediation” amid “less incentive to make deep, tight markets” due to “capital constraints,” potentially, explained SqueezeMetrics, the creator of the DIX (Dark Pool Index).

This comes after months of high average readings in DIX (likely as market-makers assembled “basket[s] of S&P 500 stocks to create ETF shares, or to hedge away the exposure of a futures contract[s]”). Typically, high DIX readings are associated with stronger 1-month market returns, particularly when put flows are strong (i.e., lower Gamma exposure readings, like now).

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Overall, the trend change is “suggestive of some second thoughts from the [buy-the-dip] crowd, and perhaps (likely!) some deleveraging from elsewhere,” SqueezeMetrics ended.

Technical

As of 8:20 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher.

Any activity above the $3,638.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,688.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $3,722.50 LVNode and $3,771.25 HVnode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower.

Any activity below the $3,638.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,610.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,554.75 and $3,506.25 HVNode, or lower.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on areas of high volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure, identified as low volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume (LVNodes), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 22, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 950+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 8:00 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Administrative

An easy read, today. For more complex, see the September 20 and 19 letters. Also, there will not be a letter published for Friday, September 23, 2022. See you next week, team!

Fundamental

Equity markets traded down, yesterday, on the heels of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision to raise interest rates by 0.75% and “keep at it” for longer, eyeing a 1.25% jump, in sum, by 2023.

This puts the current target rate at 3.00-3.25%.

Separately, if the “keep at it” quote sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The Fed Paul Volcker’s memoir is titled “Keeping at It.”

Graphic: CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool shows higher odds of a 75 to 100 basis point rate hike in November, along the lines of what the futures market was pricing heading into the event.

The Fed Chair Jerome Powell admitted there may be below-trend growth and the potential for unemployment to reach 4.4% next year, up from the current rate of 3.7%. Projected increases, as of yesterday, show interest rates at 4.4% by 2023, and 4.6% in 2023, before moderation in 2024 to 3.9%, as well summarized by Bloomberg.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Moreover, economists suggest that raising rates to 4.5% would cost the economy nearly 1.7 million jobs while rates at 5% would bring that number to 2 million. A higher savings rate and increased funds at the state level would likely cushion the blow, however.

In response, the likes of Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood, who we quoted recently regarding her thoughts on why the Fed needs to lower the pace of tightening and/or cut, said:

“Most disappointing about the Fed’s decision today was its unanimity. None of those voting on the Federal Reserve is focused on the significant price deflation in the pipeline. The Fed seems to be making decisions based on lagging indicators and analogies.”

She adds that the Fed is setting the stage for deflation:

“The Fed is solving supply chain issues by crushing demand and, in my view, unleashing deflation, setting it up for a major pivot.”

Graphic: Initially retrieved from Bloomberg. Taken from Ophir Gottlieb who concludes costs are dropping, as observed via shipping, gasoline, manufacturing, cars, and rent measures.

Moreover, it’s the case that “[a]s rates rise and debt servicing costs increase, ‘many zombie institutions, zombie households, corporates, banks, shadow banks, and zombie countries are going to die,’” said economist Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the 2008 financial crisis. 

Prior to the Fed event, Roubini forecasted a 75 basis point hike in September, followed by a 50 basis point hike in November. The market is pricing more than what Roubini thought the Fed would probably do after Wednesday’s Fed meeting.

In his opinion, stay “light on equities and have more cash, … [as] equities and other assets can fall by 10%, 20%, 30%.”

Positioning

In short, unexpected was the post-event response. In recent times, post-Fed moves have been positive, driven by the “rebalancing of dealer inventory,” per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

That didn’t happen and let’s unpack why.

Basically, into the event, traders demanded protection and bid implied volatility (IVOL). The assumption is that counterparties, who are likely on the other end, have exposure to positive Delta and negative Gamma, which they hedge through negative Delta trades in the underlying.

Should fears have been assuaged, the supply of that protection once demanded, would have decreased IVOL (and options Delta), providing the markets a boost.

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

That didn’t happen. Instead, traders added protection, as shown by this SpotGamma graphic tracking changes in put open interest on the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX).

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. Updated September 22, 2022.

This bid some basic measures of IVOL into the close.

Graphic: Retrieved from VIX Central. Updated September 21, 2022.

That’s as these particular options, which were added at much lower prices, as I explained in a SpotGamma note, recently, “are far more sensitive to changes in direction and IVOL.”

These options can go “from having very little Delta (exposure to direction) to a lot more Delta on the move lower,” quickly. “If we maintain that liquidity providers are short those puts, a positive Delta trade, then those liquidity providers [will sell] futures and stock, a negative Delta trade to stay hedged.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Notwithstanding, it’s still the case that a “reload on fresh short-dated downside” flows heighten the risk of a “negative Delta squeeze … into month end,” said Nomura Holdings Inc’s (NYSE: NMR) Charlie McElligott. 

Therefore, “you have to consider a move up [to] $4,000.00 as part of your distribution of outcomes to the upside,” as that is near where “market makers are ‘long,’” as part of an impactful collar trade many are aware sits.

As an aside, some online conversation was sparked around placing cash into riskless trades for some small, but guaranteed, rates of return. In that conversation, Box Spreads were put forth as a solution to lend cash and earn a competitive interest rate.

For context, “Boxes allow market participants to create a loan structure similar to a Treasury bill. T-bills are ‘discount’ instruments that are purchased at a value less than the stated face value. Upon maturity, bills call for the return of the stated face value.”

“For example, one might buy a $1 million 90-day T-bill for $998,000. Ninety days later, the $1 million face or principal value is returned and the $2,000 discount is earned as interest. One may represent the rate on this transaction as a 0.80% or 80 basis point discount yield [= (360/90) x ($2,000/$1,000,000)]. The effective rate on a box represents a ‘discount yield’ similar to a quoted T-bill rate.”

Graphic: Retrieved from boxtrades.com.

IPS Strategic Capital’s Pat Hennessy explains that SPX boxes “typically yield[] 20-40 bps above [the] corresponding maturity risk-free rate.” Additionally, there are tax advantages to using the S&P 500’s 1256 contracts. 

For easier fills, use the “3K/4K line in an AM settled expiry,” Hennessy noted. “Helps if you know where the broker market is.”

Technical

As of 8:00 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher.

Any activity above the $3,826.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,857.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $3,893.00 VPOC and $3,936.25 ONH, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower.

Any activity below the $3,826.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,770.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,722.50 LVNode and $3,688.75 HVNode, or lower.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on areas of high volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure, identified as low volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume (LVNodes), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

MCPOCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous day sessions. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 21, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 900+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 7:00 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Administrative

Short and to the point, today, after yesterday’s detailed letter on inflation, monetary policy action, and beyond. Good luck, everyone!

Fundamental

Ongoing is a “messy divorce” between large powers. We have talked about this in the past.

In the news was Putin’s mobilization of troops and renewed warning of a nuclear threat. This is a day after Biden said the US would defend Taiwan against China. In response, Mao Ning, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said this:

“The US remarks seriously violate the one-China principle … and send a severely wrong signal to the separatist forces of Taiwan independence. China strongly deplores and rejects it and has made solemn complaints with the US side.”

“We will do our utmost to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity, while we will not tolerate any activities aimed at splitting China and reserve the option to take all necessary measures.”

The aforementioned do more to shift “the pillars of the low inflation world” – de-globalization and populism – which the Federal Reserve (Fed) has a limited toolkit to solve for.

Pending is a large “L”-shaped recession to slow inflation, generate negative wealth effects, lower demand, and position for a recovery that will likely be “fiscally funded industrial policy.”

Shifting to today, the Federal Reserve is to step up its efforts to tame inflation by raising interest rates to the highest level since 2008. The consensus calls for up to a 75 basis point rate hike. 

Bloomberg economist Anna Wong, Andrew Husby, and Eliza Winger put forth:

“Powell will emphasize the committee’s determination to hold rates higher for longer. He will be more forthcoming in acknowledging the likely pain involved in bringing down inflation. He may opt not to say that the committee plans to downshift the pace of rate hikes.”

Positioning

Yesterday, we briefly talked about post-event moves which are often positive and driven by the structural “rebalancing of dealer inventory,” per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

“In the past four Fed Days, the benchmark index has climbed an average of roughly 1.4% on all days, with more than 2% gains on three of the four,” said Bloomberg’s John Authers. Adding, “the S&P 500 has averaged a gain of more than 1% on Fed Days over the last 10 meetings.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Via the Bespoke Investment Group.

Basically, into the event, traders have demanded protection and bid implied volatility (IVOL).

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. 

Should fears be assuaged, the supply of that protection should decrease IVOL, this is what may provide markets a boost.

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

From thereon, the “second move and final resolution, if you wait for it, is usually tied to the incremental effects on liquidity (QE/QT).”

In the case of the latter, per The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, “[o]utright tails in single stocks continue to be ‘cheap’ relative to what you are seeing in the broad market.”

“Market is discounting any sort of crash risk. Which seems reasonable granted that a lot of the current macro theme is geared towards a longer-term effect.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Taken from Kris Sidial. “January 2022 was a time that was associated with really low vol (VIX = ~12). Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSE: XLP) 1M 80MNY tails today are only 4 vols over where they were during that time.”

Technical

As of 7:00 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher.

Any activity above the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,936.25 ONH. Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $3,965.25 HVNode and $4,001.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower.

Any activity below the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,857.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $3,826.25 and $3,770.75 HVNode, or lower.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on areas of high volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure, identified as low volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume (LVNodes), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

MCPOCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous day sessions. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 16, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 900+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 6:50 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Administrative

A longer note so stick with me!

Updates are pending for the above dashboard. Exciting! Beyond this, the newsletter is getting a revamp in other parts. If you have any feedback on what should be changed, please comment!

Also, I am going to refer everyone to a conversation between Joseph Wang and Andy Constan, as well as some updates Cem Karsan of Kai Volatility made (HERE and HERE). That is, in part, a primer for what we will be talking more about, soon.

Fundamental

Talked about yesterday was the prospects of contractionary monetary policy reducing inflation and growth. BlackRock Inc (NYSE: BLK) strategists, even, put forth that a “deep recession” is needed to stem inflation. In short, “there is no way around this,” they claim.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) sold 20% on warning about the global economy.

From thereon, we talked about how rates rising would “bring private sector credit growth down,” as well as “private sector spending and, hence, the economy.”

Based on where rates are at, the market may still be too expensive.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg via Michael J. Kramer. “What is amazing is how expensive this market is relative to rates. The spread between the S&P 500 Earnings yield and the 10-Yr nominal rate is at multi-year lows.”

On the other hand, some argue inflation peaks are in. ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood suggests “deflation [is] in the pipeline, heading for the PPI, CPI, PCE Deflator.” 

Tesla Inc’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) Elon Musk added that he thinks the Federal Reserve (Fed) may make a mistake noting “a major Fed rate hike risks deflation.” Musk suggested the Fed should drop 0.25%, basing his decision on non-lagging indicators, unlike the Fed.

That’s not in line with what CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch tool shows. Through this tool we see traders pricing an 80% chance of a 0.50-0.75% hike, all the while quantitative tightening (reducing Fed Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities holdings) accelerated on September 15. 

UST and MBS will roll off (which could turn into “outright sales”) at a pace of $95 billion per month, now, increasing competition for funding among commercial banks, and bolstering borrowing costs, as explained, below.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

According to Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC), since 2010, nearly 50% of the moves in market price-to-earnings multiples were explained by quantitative easing (QE), the inverse of QT, through which the Fed (or central banks, in general) creates credit used to buy securities in open markets, MarketWatch explains.

Graphic: Retrieved from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. “The Fed Is Shrinking Its Balance Sheet. What Does That Mean?”

The “purchases of long-dated bonds are intended to drive down yields, which is seen enhancing appetite for risk assets as investors look elsewhere for higher returns. QE creates new reserves on bank balance sheets. The added cushion gives banks, which must hold reserves in line with regulations, more room to lend or to finance trading activity by hedge funds and other financial market participants, further enhancing market liquidity.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) via MarketWatch.

The liability side of the Fed’s balance sheet is what “matters to financial markets.” 

Thus far, “reductions in Fed liabilities have been concentrated in the Treasury General Account, or TGA, which effectively serves as the government’s checking account” to run the day-to-day business.

Given that we’re talking about balance sheets, here, Fed liabilities must match assets. Thus, a rise in the TGA must be accompanied by a decline in bank reserves (which are liabilities to the Fed). This, as a result, decreases the room banks have to “lend or to finance trading activity by hedge funds and other financial market participants, [which] further [cuts into] market liquidity.”

With the Treasury set to increase debt issuance, boosting TGA, it will effectively take “money out of the economy and put[] it into the government’s checking account.” The linked reduction in bank deposits and reserves bolsters “repurchase agreement rates and borrowing benchmarks linked to them, like the Secured Overnight Financing Rate,” per Bloomberg.

Graphic: Retrieved from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) is a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by Treasury securities.”

Adding, this may play into “an additional tightening of overall financial conditions, in addition to the increase in the main fed funds rate target that the central bank intends to continue boosting.”

This will “put more pressure on the private sector to absorb those Treasurys, which means less money to put into other assets” that may be riskier, like equities, said Aidan Garrib, the head of global macro strategy and research at Montreal-based PGM Global.

Positioning

As of 6:50 AM ET, Friday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.44%. Net gamma exposures decreasing may promote generally more expansive ranges.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Given where realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility measures are, as well as skew, it is beneficial to be a buyer of options structures.

This is as there’s been a lot of speculation, particularly on the downside (put options), setting the stage for a more volatile and fragile market environment, says Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

“On the index level, people are not well hedged,” a departure from what the case was heading into and through much of 2022. It’s the case that heading into 2022, traders were well hedged. Into and through the decline, traders’ monetization of existing hedges, as well as counterparty reactions, “compressed volatility” realized across US equities, as explained on July 15, 2022.

This made for some attractive trade opportunities seen here.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. “VIX has decoupled from cross-asset volatilities.”

Now, given that the go-to trade is to sell stock and puts, short interest has grown, as have other risks, associated with this activity; essentially people are “los[ing] faith in convexity and risk premia’s ability to work,” as a result of “poor performance of vol,” and, the reaction to their “pain and financial loss,” is setting the stage for tail risks heading into the Q1 and Q2 2023.

The sale (purchase) of the front (back) expirations will bolster market pinning; as SpotGamma puts forth, “the positive impact of put closers and rolls, as well as decay,” is easing the market drop. However, this “positioning likely compounds drops and adds to volatility,” in the future.

To quote: “Though the removal of put-heavy exposures can boost markets higher, too add, the positive impacts are dulled via the demand for put exposures at much lower prices.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma.

These particular options, which are at much lower prices, “are far more sensitive to changes in direction and IVOL,” as I explained in a SpotGamma note. These options can go “from having very little Delta (exposure to direction) to a lot more Delta on the move lower,” quickly.

Graphic: Via Mohamed Bouzoubaa et al’s Exotic Options and Hybrids.

“If we maintain that liquidity providers are short those puts, a positive Delta trade, then those liquidity providers [will sell] futures and stock, a negative Delta trade to stay hedged.”

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research.

Technical

As of 6:50 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher.

Any activity above the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,935.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $3,964.75 HVNode and $4,001.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower.

Any activity below the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,857.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $3,826.25 and $3,770.75 HVNodes, or lower.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Considerations: A feature of this 2022 down market was responsiveness near key-technical areas (that are discernable visually on a chart). This suggested to us that technically-driven traders with shorter time horizons were very active. 

Such traders often lack the wherewithal to defend retests and, additionally, the type of trade may be indicative of the other time frame participants waiting for more information to initiate trades.

That’s changing. The key levels, quoted above, are snapping far easier and are not as well respected. That means other time frame participants with wherewithal are initiating trades. 

Those are the participants you should not fade.

Definitions

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on areas of high volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure, identified as low volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume (LVNodes), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

MCPOCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous day sessions. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 14, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 900+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 8:00 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

A sell-off spurred by a higher-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) hit nearly all assets.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Expected was an 8.1% rise year-over-year (YoY) and a 0.1% fall month-over-month (MoM). Core CPI (excludes food and energy) was to rise by 6.1% YoY and 0.3% MoM, respectively.

Officially, the headline number rose to 8.3%. The core CPI rose 6.3% YoY and 0.6% MoM, meaning the March peak remains (6.5% YoY, then).

It’s the case, essentially, that “[a]ll measures came in above forecasts. Shelter, food and medical care were among the largest contributors to price growth,” per Bloomberg.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

The data, which “illustrates a strong labor market and weakening consumer spending,” in total, bolsters the case for interest rates to rise by “three-quarters of a percentage point.”

Bloomberg’s Anna Wong and Andrew Husby add: “[W]ages have now become the top driver of inflation. With Fed officials already highly concerned about a potential wage-price spiral, the central bank is likely to keep hiking in the first half of 2023.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

The selling hit growth and technology, hard. These areas are far more responsive to changes in rates as there is promise embedded in their stock prices, too. When rates rise, prices are hit as the value of future earnings looks far less attractive versus higher-yielding or less-risky assets.

“Multiple compression will continue as long as we have sticky inflation,” said Marija Veitmane of State Street Corp (NYSE: STT). “Profits will crater. We still see a lot of downside on equities.”

Beyond risk assets, rising interest rates increase the cost of financing leaving households with less money to spend (or more hesitant to spend money), and this leads a decline in demand. Accordingly, business profits and economic growth may decline, too.

Graphic: Retrieved from Danielle DiMartino Booth.

A conversation between Joseph Wang and Andy Constan, which we shall unpack in coming letters, deserves a listen. At its core, financial markets sold, primarily, on the “flow” of liquidity this year. Read the coming letters for more.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

Positioning

Traders sought shorter-dated equity put (downside) protection, in size, heading into Tuesday’s decline. Prior to the market open, Tuesday, we said that some “‘massive hedging activity’ feels ‘unsettling’” given what the “reaction to that protection entails should markets drop lower and [implied volatility] increase, accordingly.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

From thereon, options were repriced as markets sold and IVOL increased.

As I well put in a SpotGamma note last night, “it’s the case that [out-of-the-money] options went from having very little Delta (exposure to direction) to a lot more Delta. If we maintain the assumption that liquidity providers are short those puts, a positive delta trade, then those liquidity providers sold futures and stock, a negative Delta trade.”

In short, options out of the money are highly sensitive to changes in direction and IVOL, which there was a lot of, yesterday. Those options quickly went from having little value to a lot of value. If you’re short that exposure, and don’t want to lose money, you have to sell something, and the latter is what compounded the selling.

From hereon, as we said, a lot of the exposure demanded is short-dated. Should that exposure not be rolled forward in time, and allowed to expire, “SPX/ES dealers [who] are well hedged,” will unwind their hedges which may drive bullishness “through OpEx (options expiration),” says Kai Volatility Cem Karsan.

Notwithstanding, this “has [the] potential to drive a tail post” OpEx. In [the] tech/meme market melt-up of 2020-2021, positioning was [the] exact opposite.”

Technical

As of 8:10 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the lower part of a balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher.

Any activity above the $3,952.00 VPOC puts into play the $3,952.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,001.00 VPOC and $4,069.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower.

Any activity below the $3,952.00 VPOC puts into play the $3,884.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,857.25 and $3,826.25 HVNode, or lower.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on areas of high volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure, identified as low volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume (LVNodes), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

MCPOCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous day sessions. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 13, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 900+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 7:45 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

Today, traders get inflation updates. These will help drive perceptions regarding monetary policy.

Expected is an 8.1% rise year-over-year (YoY) and 0.1% fall month-over-month (MoM). In July, these numbers were 8.5% and 0.0%, respectively.

Core CPI (which excludes food and energy) is expected to rise by a rate higher than in July, 6.1% YoY and 0.3% MoM, respectively.

Mattering most is core inflation, which the Fed has more control over. If lower than expected, that may warrant some appetite for risk.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Notwithstanding, prior to July’s release, the average movement in the S&P 500, after CPI, was -1.27%. Still, though, the expectation is that August data will show improvement.

“The market has concluded that both the ECB and even the Fed, despite their protestations otherwise, are both being viewed as data-dependent,” Peter Tchir of Academy Securities said. 

“I cannot see any scenario where the market doesn’t decide that CPI is heading the right direction and … [this] should allow markets to continue to enjoy the strength.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “Stronger evidence that a wage-price spiral can indeed be avoided came from Monday’s publication of the New York Fed’s latest Survey of Consumer Expectations.”

At this point, in spite of the prospects of inflation continuing to cool, expectations regarding Fed (Federal Reserve) action remain sticky with the fed funds futures pricing a peak in rates of 4%.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Unchanged, all else equal, this means markets have accounted for the rise in interest rates and their impact on valuations. From hereon, further de-rating is not out of the question, particularly if inflation continues to rise and/or growth fears materialize, as some like Fitch Ratings believe.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Via Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS). “MS Research thinks the lows for this bear market will likely arrive in the fourth quarter with 3,400 the minimum downside and 3,000 the low if a recession arrives.”

According to Fitch, a decline in corporate profits is likely to speed up in the coming quarters, and this will highlight economic slowing (below-trend GDP growth) that leads to a 2023 recession.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg, via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC). “Bank of America … remains ‘fundamentally and patiently bearish.’”

To quote CFO Dive, “Downward revisions to consensus expectations for earnings next year ‘will likely accelerate as monetary tightening continues to reduce inflation and growth slows.’”

Thus far, the economy has shrunk 0.6% in the second quarter, after slumping 1.6% in the first, which is “the common definition of a recession” despite the continued growth of the economy as shown by other metrics like “nonfarm employment, consumer spending, industrial production, and weekly hours worked.”

Positioning

As of 7:45 AM ET, Tuesday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.24%. Net gamma exposures increasing may promote some market stability.

It’s the case that there is this trend in demand for equity downside put options protection. This is evidenced by figures of open interest, volume, as well as bid implied volatility (IVOL) metrics like the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX).

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

“They’re buying protection against a crash at a pace unlike anything the market has ever seen,” said Jason Goepfert, chief research officer at Sundial. This is as Nomura Holdings Inc’s (NYSE: NMR) Charlie McElligott says more traders are taking shots amid “hawkish global central bank escalations,” and tightening measures of liquidity, among other things.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

Goepfert adds that the “massive hedging activity” feels “unsettling.” That has to do with what the reaction to that protection entails should markets drop lower and IVOL increase, accordingly.

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

Notwithstanding, should nothing bad happen, the activity, which is structured in soon-to-expire options, will quickly fall out of favor (as will the probability of those options paying out). Liquidity providers, on the other side of those trades, will reduce their negative Delta (short futures and stock) hedges which may further add support to markets.

Graphic: Retrieved from Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS).

The concern is that soon after this big options expiration passes, new fear and demand for protection may feed into another bout of weakness as traders rush to re-protect and liquidity providers add pressure in their hedging, accordingly.

Graphic: Retrieved from Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS).

Technical

As of 7:00 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher.

Any activity above the $4,127.00 VPOC puts into play the $4,189.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,231.00 VPOC and $4,253.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower.

Any activity below the $4,127.00 VPOC puts into play the $4,071.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,018.75 HVNode and $3,991.00 VPOC, or lower.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on areas of high volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure, identified as low volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume (LVNodes), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

MCPOCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous day sessions. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Results

Case Study: How A Bearish S&P 500 Trade Turned Into A Multibagger

Heading into the 2022 equity market decline, institutions repositioned and hedged their downside, even allocating to commodities, which worked well for the first couple of quarters.

Due in part to this, the 2022 equity market decline was like no other experienced during 2021.

Instead, the monetization and counterparty hedging of existing customer options hedges, as well as the sale of short-dated options, particularly in some of the single names where implied volatility (IVOL) was rich, lent to lackluster performance in IVOL.

Eventually, entities were squeezed out of trades not working.

That means participants rotated out of options and commodities, all the while a macro-type re-leveraging ensued on improvements in inflation data, an earnings season that was better than expected, and “crazy tax receipts,” among other things.

The most recent advance climaxed the week of the August monthly options expiration (OPEX).

Graphic: Retrieved from Cboe Global Markets Inc (BATS: CBOE).

Why? Well, heading into that particular week, markets were rising at a fast rate, and call options (i.e., bets on the market upside) were highly demanded.

Graphic: Updated 8/15/2022. Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Those, on the other side of those call option trades (i.e., counterparties), hedged in a manner that was supportive (i.e., counterparties sell calls to customers and buy underlying to hedge exposure).

Eventually, traders’ activity in soon-to-expire options became concentrated at certain strikes – particularly $4,300.00 in the S&P 500 – while IVOL trended lower. The counterparty’s response, then, did more to support prices and reduce movement.

This is because, with the passage of time and declining volatility, options Gamma (i.e., the sensitivity of an option to direction) became more positive and the range of spot prices, across which Delta (i.e., options exposure to direction) shifts rapidly, became a lot smaller.

When options Gamma exposure is more positive, market movements may have a positive impact on the counterparty’s position (i.e., movement is beneficial). If movement is beneficial, and the counterparty is not interested in realizing that benefit, they may hedge in a manner that can stifle market movement.

This is, in part, what happened, in the late stages of the rally. That said, however, soon after the S&P 500 hit $4,300.00, the near-vertical price rise began to sputter and follow-on support, both from a fundamental (e.g., liquidity) and volatility perspective was soon set to worsen.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

Why? There was an OPEX that would trigger “a big shift in market positioning,” Nomura Holdings Inc’s (NYSE: NMR) Charlie McElligott explained.

In short, participants’ failure to roll forward their expiring bets on market upside coincided with a message that the Fed would stay tough on inflation. So, it’s the case that after the OPEX, those same bets that were prompting counterparties to stem volatility and bolster equity upside were not rolled forward.

Instead, these bets expired and this is visualized by the drop in Gamma exposures, post-OPEX.

Graphic: Created by Physik Invest. Data by SqueezeMetrics.

Accordingly, this expiration, combined with technical and fundamental contexts that were prompting funds to “reload[] on short sales,” shocked the market into a higher volatility, negative Gamma environment. In this environment, put options, through which the vast majority of participants speculate on lower prices and protect their downside, solicited far more pressure from counterparties.

Adding, if markets were to continue trading lower, traders were likely to continue rotating into those put options that would bolster this pressure from counterparties.

This happened as shown, below.

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. “There was a huge surge in large trader put buying in the equities space last week as per the OCC data.”

This demand for put options protection was reflected by a bid in IVOL. To hedge against this demand for protection and rising IVOL, counterparties sold underlying, compounding bearish fundamental flows.

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

In late August, data suggested September would have “a very large options position as it is a quarterly OPEX,” SpotGamma said. With that position being “put heavy,” a slide lower, and an increase in IVOL, was likely to drive continued counterparty “shorting” with little “relief until Jackson Hole.”

In expecting markets to trade lower and more volatile, Physik Invest sought to initiate new trades.

At the time, in mid-August, call option premiums were attractive, in part due to interest rates, all the while IVOL metrics seemingly hit a lower bound.

This was observable via a quick check of skew, a plot of the IVOL levels for options across different strike prices. Usually, skew, on the S&P 500, shows a smirk, not a smile.

Graphic: Retrieved from Cboe Global Markets Inc (BATS: CBOE). Updated August 17, 2022. Skew steepened into $3,700.00 and below $3,500.00 in the S&P 500.

This meant it was likely that short-dated, wide Put Ratio Spreads had little to lose in a sideways-to-higher market environment. Additionally, call Vertical Spreads above the market were relatively more expensive.

Given the above context, the following analysis unpacks how Physik Invest traded options tied to the S&P 500 leading up to and through the August 19 OPEX, into the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

Note: Click here to view all transactions for all accounts involved.

Sequence 1: After a skew smile was observed, through August 12, 2022, the following positions were initiated, while the S&P 500 was still trending higher, for a net $7,616.68 credit.

Positions were structured in a way that would potentially net higher credits had the index moved lower.

  • SOLD 10 1/2 BACKRATIO SPX 100 (Weeklys) 26 AUG 22 3700/3500 PUT @ ~$0.13 Credit
  • SOLD 3 VERTICAL SPX 100 21 OCT 22 [AM] 4300/4350 CALL @ ~$25.10 Credit

Sequence 2: While the S&P 500 was trading near $4,300.00 resistance, by 8/19/2022, all aforementioned Ratio Put Spread positions were rolled forward for a $452.26 credit.

The resulting position was as follows:

  • -17 1/2 BACKRATIO SPX 100 (Weeklys) 16 SEP 22 3700/3500 PUT
  • -3 VERTICAL SPX 100 21 OCT 22 [AM] 4300/4350 CALL

From thereon the market declined and, by 9/1/2022, all positions were exited for a $6,963.84 credit.

  • BOT 17 1/2 BACKRATIO SPX 100 (Weeklys) 16 SEP 22 3700/3500 PUT @ ~$4.94 Credit
  • BOT 3 VERTICAL SPX 100 21 OCT 22 [AM] 4300/4350 CALL @ ~$4.57 Debit

Summary: In total, the sequence of trades net a $15,032.78 profit after commissions and fees.

The max loss (minus unforeseen events) sat at ~$6,790.00 if the S&P 500 closed above $4,350.00 in OCT. Because the Ratio Put Spreads were initiated at no cost, any loss, if the market went higher, would have been the result of the trade’s Vertical Spread component. Overall, this trade netted in excess of a 200% return; the trade’s profit was more than two times the initial debit risk, a multi-bagger.

Reflection: Heading into the trade, it was the case that IVOL performed poorly during much of the 2022 decline. This was likely to remain the case on a subsequent drop, hence the wide and short-dated Ratio Put Spread.

Still, in spite of the Ratio Put Spread exposing the position to negative Delta and positive Gamma (i.e., the trade makes money if the market moves lower, all else equal), if implied skew became more convex (i.e., implied volatilities grow more rapidly as strike prices decrease), the position could have been a large loss.

So, if the flatter part of the skew curve (where the position was structured) became more convex, which is not something that was anticipated would happen, then the only recourse would have been to (1) close the position or (2) sell (i.e., add static negative Delta in) futures and correlated ETFs.

In the second case, then, the trade would have been allowed time to work and turn into a potential winner, particularly amidst the passage of time.

Additionally, in accordance with Physik Invest’s risk protocol, more units of the Short Put Ratio Spread could have been initiated on the transition into Sequence 2. These units could have been held through Labor Day, then, and monetized for up to an additional ~$4.00 credit per unit.

Though additional units of the Vertical Spreads could not have been added, due to the strict limits to debit risks, there were still months left to that particular component of the trade. With lower prices expected, there was little reason the Verticals should have been removed fast.

Going forward, should the context from a fundamental and volatility perspective remain the same, only on a rally could Physik Invest potentially re-enter a similar position.